Several lawyers have filed a Public Interest Litigation case calling to enact all the regulations required under the Construction Act and to enforce the Male' Planning Regulation.
Local law firm Riza, Shafneez & Co shared on Monday that the company teamed up with Wisham & Co. LLP and lawyers Aryj Hussain, Fathimath Shareef and Sofiyya Thaufeeqa to file the PIL case against the state.
The issue surfaced after a young girl was struck by a cement bag that fell from the fifth storey of the Nalahiya Manzil construction site in Maafannu ward. She was rushed to Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital where she underwent surgery and was in intensive care, until she succumbed to her injuries on Monday.
In a series of tweets, Riza, Shafneez & Co noted that the regulations under the Construction Act have been due for seven months. The 14 pending regulations include the Building Code.
The firm highlighted that the failure to enact them and enforce the safety measures as stated in the Male' Planning Regulation is a violation of the following Articles in the Constitution:
Article 21: "Right to life"
Article 23 (d): Right to "a healthy and ecologically balanced environment"
Article 37 (b): Right to "just and safe conditions of work, fair wages, equal remuneration for work of equal value, and equal opportunity for promotion"
Article 40 (a): Right to "acquire, own, inherit, transfer or otherwise transact of such property"
Article 41(a): "Freedom to enter, remain in and leave the Maldives, and to travel within the Maldives".
The law firm further disclosed that they have applied for a temporary stay order "to immediately halt all work at all construction sites in Male’ until safety measures and permit checks are verified by the authorities".
"Yesterday we saw results of poor safety controls. Enforcement is inadequate," said Hawwa Shafeea Riza, the managing partner of Riza, Shafneez & Co.
"The construction company in question allegedly built five storeys without a permit. That's a very poor standard of safety controls and measures, and shows ineffective enforcement of safety standards."
Following the accident, Male City Council has also temporarily halted issuing of construction permits.